11 user 6 critic

Golden Dawn (1930)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Music | 14 June 1930 (USA)


Ray Enright


Otto A. Harbach (from the operetta by) (as Otto Harbach), Oscar Hammerstein II (from the operetta by) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Walter Woolf King ... Tom Allen (as Walter Woolf)
Vivienne Segal ... Dawn
Noah Beery ... Shep Keyes
Alice Gentle Alice Gentle ... Mooda
Dick Henderson Dick Henderson ... Duke
Lupino Lane ... Pigeon
Marion Byron ... Joanna
Edward Martindel ... Col. Judson
Nina Quartero ... Maid-in-Waiting
Sôjin Kamiyama Sôjin Kamiyama ... Piper (as Sojin)
Otto Matieson ... Capt. Eric
Julanne Johnston ... Sister Hedwig


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


Music Drama of the Jungle (original poster)


Comedy | Drama | Music


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 June 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aurora dorada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(Turner Library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Apparatus) (Vitaphone)


Black and White (TV prints)| Color (2-strip Technicolor) (original print)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The operetta opened in New York on 30 November 1927 and had 184 performances. See more »


Composer Herbert Stothart is billed as "Hubert" in the opening credits. See more »


We Two
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Emmerich Kálmán and Herbert Stothart
Lyrics by Otto A. Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Marion Byron and
Reprised by
See more »

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User Reviews

Pre-Code, Pre-Taste
5 May 2014 | by SpondonmanSee all my reviews

The reviews of this one simply compelled me to give it a try; I wasn't disappointed. I love films made at the dawn of sound, and in this case also the dawn of taste, apart from often being entertaining they usually tell me a lot about who we were and who we now are. All white people back then apparently considered they were innately superior to all other races, nowadays gifted with movie-hindsight all races can all afford to be retrospectively superior to everyone in the primitive past, and in both cases, innocently. Where we will end up though is another matter – it even tells me something that the original New York stage play ran to 184 performances in 1927, and that this film in black and white (if you "know black from white") has actually survived Time when much worthier films were left to rot.

Dawn is a white native goddess with a hazy past, white Britisher Tom Allen loves her purely but jet blacked-up native Shep Keyes lusts after her. It was still clunky old Noah Beery for all the make-up though – I just had to laugh at the blackened armpits of his shirt. He's worth watching singing to his whip too. The first song is shrilled out by a blackface Margaret Dumont lookalike – I looked out in vain for Captain Spaulding. Vivienne Segal and Walter Woolf King (pre-Marx's Lasspari) are excellent in their lead roles with every word and every lyric perfectly enunciated, every emotion delivered complete with Capital Letters. I loved Woolf's line at one point about not letting Segal sacrifice herself and "go through with this savage religious stupidity" – out of the mouths of babes! The songs, even when the lyrics make you sit up are in the main dull as ditchwater except for We Two (I was wishing for Eddie Cantor though) and the energetic A Tiger (the routine later bettered in King Of Jazz's Ragamuffin Romeo).

It's exhilaratingly barmy doing Vienna in the jungle, but it must have played pretty old-fashioned and pointless even in 1930. So if you decide to hunt this down as it's probably banned from TV and watch it, keep it in the strict amber of context and you will have a unique experience no matter what your colour or prejudices. Unfortunately I can't say the same for Blazing Saddles (my personal bête noire) which was not innocent but malicious.

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